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Social Security Disability FAQ’s

 How much will hiring an attorney to represent me cost?

Unlike many attorneys, Tabak Law’s disability attorneys do not charge up-front fees to work on your Social Security disability case. The attorneys at Tabak Law will be paid a fee only if they win your case (this is called a contingency fee.)

Here’s how it works:

For Social Security disability lawyers, the fee is limited to 25% of the past-due benefits you are awarded, up to a maximum of $6,000. Note that the attorney will be paid only out of your past-due benefits, or “backpay.” If no back-dated benefits are awarded, the attorney will not receive a fee.


How do I check the status of a pending application for benefits?

If you applied for benefits, you can check the Status of Your Application online.

Your application status shows:

  • The date your application was received;
  • Any requests for additional documents;
  • The address of the office processing your application; and
  • If a decision has been made.

You cannot check the status of an application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits online.

If you are unable to check your status online, you can

  • Call social security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.;
  • Contact your local Social Security office, or
  • If you are a current client, contact Tabak Law, LLC at (414) 351-4400.

Can I return to work while getting Social Security disability benefits?

There is no simple answer to this question. However, if you are working and making more than $1,170.00 per month you are not eligible to begin recieving nor continue to recieve disablity benefits; for a more in depth answer to this question refer to the “Working while Disabled Pamphlet” located to the right.

How Long Will I Have to Wait For My Hearing?

Wait times vary throughout the country ranging from a minimum of 7.5 months in Fort Smith, Arkansas to 21 months in Columbia, South Carolina. For a list of the wait times in your area please refer to the “Hearing Wait Times” button to the right.

Hearing Wait Times

What Will My Social Security Hearing Be Like?

Social security hearings are private, held in a small conference rooms, and last an hour or so. The judge will ask you about your education, training, work experience, symptoms, limitations, and daily activities. If you are represented by a social security disability attorney he/she will have an opportunity to ask you questions directly regarding your disability. They may also refer to any relevant medical evidence in the record.Other important tasks that a social security disability attorney will complete are: 

  • Obtain reports from treating doctors that are consistent with Social Security regulations
  • Refer claimants to specialists for additional reports that answer questions raised by        Social Security regulations
  • Obtain a vocational expert’s evaluation of the claimant’s ability to work
  • Ask that a prior application for benefits be reopened
  • Seek a waiver of a time limit
  • Request subpoenas to insure the presence of crucial witnesses or documents
  • Advise the claimant on how best to prepare for and testify at the hearing
  • Object to improper evidence or procedures at the hearing
  • Cross-examine adverse witnesses
  • Present a closing statement
  • Submit a written summary of the evidence and argument
  • If the claimant wins, make sure the SSA correctly calculates benefits
  • If the claimant loses, he/she may request review of the hearing decision by the Appeals Council

 

What happens if I work and get Social Security retirement benefits?

You can get Social Security retirement benefits and work at the same time. However, if you are younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, we will reduce your benefit. Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, we will not reduce your benefits no matter how much you earn.

  • We use the following earnings limits to reduce your benefits: If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, we deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit.

For 2018 that limit is $17,040.

  • In the year you reach full retirement age, we deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit, but we only count earnings before the month you reach your full retirement age.

If you will reach full retirement age in 2018, the limit on your earnings for the months before full retirement age is $45,360.

Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, you can get your benefits with no limit on your earnings.

Use our Retirement Age Calculator to find your full retirement age based on your date of birth.

Use our Retirement Earnings Test Calculator to find out how much your benefits will be reduced.

What counts as earnings:

When we figure out how much to deduct from your benefits, we count only the wages you make from your job or your net earnings if you’re self-employed. We include bonuses, commissions, and vacation pay. We don’t count pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, veterans, or other government or military retirement benefits.

Your benefits may increase when you work:

As long as you continue to work, even if you are receiving benefits, you will continue to pay Social Security taxes on your earnings. However, we will check your record every year to see whether the additional earnings you had will increase your monthly benefit. If there is an increase, we will send you a letter telling you of your new benefit amount.

When you’re ready to apply for retirement benefits, use our online retirement application, the quickest, easiest, and most convenient way to apply.

If you need to report a change in your earnings after you begin receiving benefits:

If you receive benefits and are under full retirement age and you think your earnings will be different than what you originally told us, let us know right away. You cannot report a change of earnings online. Please call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, or contact your local Social Security office.

 

Can I get both workers compensation and Social Security Disability benefits at the same time?

Yes, however the Social Security Administration may adjust or offset the amount they pay based on how much you receive from workers compensation. The general rule of thumb is that the total of your earnings through workers compensation combined with your Social Security Disability benefits cannot be more than 80% of your original earnings.

For example, let’s say that the claimant earned $4000 per month before becoming disabled. The total amount of their workers compensation combined with their Social Security Disability benefits must be less than 80% or $3200. If your combined benefits exceed that threshold, the Social Security Administration will offset your benefit amount to keep it at or below that $3200 mark.

If your workers compensation expires, then the benefits received through Social Security will increase to the normal payment amount. The good news is that this rule only applies to public workers compensation programs. Privately funded pension and insurance benefits will not affect your Social Security Disability benefits.

In any case, there is no risk of being denied if you are getting public workers compensation payments during the application process or during the time it takes to have a claim approved. In addition, not all public benefits will fall into the category of this particular situation. If the claimant is receiving VA benefits, state and local government benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), then their disability benefits will not be affected.

This seems confusing at first, but the end result is that eligibility for Social Security disability benefits are not based on workers compensation, and there is no penalty for collecting both. However, if you receive a lump sum compensation payment or your compensation amount increases or decreases, it is important to contact the Social Security office because your benefits can be adjusted to reflect these changes.

Tabak Law Social Security Experts
Tabak Law Social Security Experts

If you are ready to start your disability claim or if you have been denied benefits, you should consult with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer  from Tabak Law, LLC. Tabak Law has a team of experienced social security attorneys and disability lawyers who know how to properly pursue the disability claim and help their client get the benefits they need and deserve.

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